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Justia Opinion Summary
Plaintiff was treated by a surgeon at Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC) for abdominal pain. The doctor informed Plaintiff that he may be suffering from either hepatic or pancreatic cancer, which has a very low survival rate. Several weeks later, test results revealed that Plaintiff actually suffered from B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which has a five-year survival rate of up to ninety percent. Plaintiff complained, and CMMC’s president sent a letter to Plaintiff that CMMC claimed was “an expression of sympathy or benevolence” and an “offer to compromise.” Plaintiff subsequently filed a medical malpractice action against CMMC. CMMC moved to exclude from evidence the letter from CMMC’s president to Plaintiff, but the trial court admitted into evidence a redacted version of the letter. The jury returned a $200,000 verdict in Plaintiff’s favor. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the superior court (1) did not err by admitting the portion of the letter that contained an admission of fault, as statements of fault are admissible under the Apology Statute; and (2) properly concluded that the statements contained in the letter were not made as part of a settlement negotiation or mediation.